The north-central department of Santander is a patchwork of steep craggy mountains, deep canyons, plummeting waterfalls, raging rivers, unexplored caves and a temperate, dry climate. Mix them together and it's easy to see why Santander has become a favorite destination for outdoor lovers. Extreme-sports nuts can choose from white-water rafting, paragliding, caving, rappelling, hiking and mountain biking. Visitors with more sanity can enjoy exploring the rustic charms of Barichara, strolling the whitewashed streets of Girón or getting their dance on in the nightclubs in the department capital city of Bucaramanga.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Santander.